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Free school meals for all infant children

(564 Posts)
Scarletbanner Tue 17-Sep-13 17:11:15

What do you think? I think it's a great idea.

Sirzy Sun 22-Sep-13 14:25:33

i went to primary school from 88-95 and they couldn't have cooked meals for all then (even the exceptionally poor meals on offer). schools will know the local patterns of how many generally have meals and how many bring packed lunches so that will be what they are planned on not planning on being able to provide for all because that would be a massive waste of resources.

My nephew has just started at primary school and over half of his year group of 45 have packed lunches, assuming similar for the whole of KS1 then you would be looking at next year asking that school to suddenly double the number of meals it prepares for KS1/FS if everyone takes up the free meal. If they extend it for the whole school that issue will get even bigger.

They have space for everyone to eat (in shifts as you would expect in a school) but they certainly won't have the facilities to suddenly double the amount of meals UNLESS the goverment is going to provide them with more equiptment and more suitably trained staff.

Retropear Sun 22-Sep-13 18:27:53

Duchesse ime schools use every available piece of space.In the last two schools I worked in the kitchens had been made into extra classrooms.

KarenRChenard Mon 23-Sep-13 01:35:20

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KarenRChenard Mon 23-Sep-13 01:36:29

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Talkinpeace Mon 23-Sep-13 17:40:31

When school catering contracts were put out to competitive tender in the private sector, many were won by contractor companies who deliver food that just needs warming in a cabinet.
Therefore schools had a redundant room and were forced to put it to use.
The school at which I was a governor halved the size of the kitchen to make two study areas for SEN kids.
If they then are expected to provide twice as many meals, they will have to use cook chill methods as there is not enough physical space to cook from scratch.

And where do kids eat?

Well, at DCs secondary, the hall seats 400 - which leaves 1100 eating in tutor rooms, stairwells, corridors, playgrounds etc etc

to build a space big enough to hold all 1500 at once would be a daft waste of resources

duchesse Tue 24-Sep-13 13:52:50

My secondary managed it by staggering lunch hours for each year group- it can very easily be done with forethought and determination.

Talkinpeace Tue 24-Sep-13 13:57:09

that sounds like a timetabling nightmare, especially in a school with lunchtime activities and sports for all year groups (as DCs does)

how big was your school?

DCs is over 300 per year group so lunch would go on most of the day ...

at their primary, all the kids sat down in two sittings but that was only 200 kids
there are primaries in London with 1200 pupils

MagratGarlik Tue 24-Sep-13 15:17:18

My secondary school had staggered lunchtimes too. There were three lunchtime slots of 40 minutes each, which one you were in depended on the classes you were taking.

It was a large-ish (1200+) school for 13-19 year olds. It is possible for larger schools.

passedgo Tue 24-Sep-13 20:17:26

The school run should go from 8am to 1 pm with a snack. Those who wish to, or do activities, should have a meal.

Or, they could subsidise food oulets that offer healthy takeaways, no doubt Mr Leon is waiting in the sidelines to fill the inevitable gap.

What was it I worked out upthread? 300 children in 30 minutes? No way schools are going to cope with that.

duchesse Sun 29-Sep-13 12:59:45

Did anybody hear the Food Programme on Radio 4 about school lunches? Crystallised everything I believe about good school lunches and how the schools with the best take-up run them. Should be available on iPlayer soon or listen to it again on Monday afternoon.

duchesse Sun 29-Sep-13 13:00:27


snowlie Mon 30-Sep-13 09:06:13

.....and the evidence from the studies which supported the idea that school lunches improved school performance wasn't quite as convincing when analysed by More or Less on Radio 4.

duchesse Mon 30-Sep-13 12:40:13

I think schools should nurture their pupils, not simply gather them together each day for the purposes of delivering the curriculum to them. Part of nurturing young children and not so young ones involves feeding them. To my mind ensuring that children are adequately fed whilst in the care of their schools is absolutely part of the school's role. Schools would be extremely unwise imv to neglect the basic wellbeing of their pupils.

seanp3 Mon 23-Jun-14 12:52:00

Conspiracy theories aside , this gift would make it easier for working parents to work longer hours in the knowledge that their child was at least getting one hot meal a day . To the government this would equate to more tax pounds in the pot ; the working parent would also benefit financially . As a stay at homer my fear is that we are moving towards the scandinavian model where my approach to parenting is coming under threat and it is becoming difficult for parents to choose to stay at home . Is there ever such a thing as a free lunch ?

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